Mark Anderson Rookie Diary: Entry 1

The Bear Report Curse is upon us once again. This publication has a horrible history for featuring players in print and online that get injured almost immediately thereafter, with Jamar Williams proving to be the last victim. But Mark Anderson was more than happy to take over the role of Rookie Diary author and share some of his experiences with us. Just be careful, Mark. Watch your step.

"Getting the win against Minnesota last weekend was a great experience. You've got to believe that we were really enjoying it from the sidelines. The crowd in the Metrodome was incredible. The noise level was amazing.

"It's difficult to communicate under circumstances like that, but that's why we practice, so things turn out well despite the distractions. The way that the Bears coaches do that is to have a noise machine going during our practices before we are playing any place like the Metrodome. The sound is actually the recorded noise of jet engines. You'd be surprised at how similar that sounds when you're on the field to the noise that a large crowd can make.

"Some of our players were saying that the Minnesota stadium staff had amped up the sound level in the facility to make it even worse for us to hear each other. I doubt that they went to that trouble. Believe me, it was loud enough without any additional amplification.

"The trip home from Minnesota was great. After a win like that, you really want to savor the moment because you know that you'll be getting back to work preparing for the next game really soon. That is the good thing about 'Victory Monday', the day that Lovie Smith gives us to relax and decompress after we get a win. It's important to get the time to recover physically and also to have the opportunity to refocus mentally before going into the next week of practice.

"It felt as if the game was on the line for all four quarters last weekend. Players like that kind of pressure, at least I do. It is what you've put all the work in to accomplish. When a game is on the line and it's getting near the end, you count on everything you've ever learned to get that win. When it all works out in your favor, it's a wonderful feeling.

"Now we are focusing on the Sunday night game against Seattle. It will be fun to have this one on national TV. As a rookie, I've never had the experience of being in a pro game that the entire country will see. I suspect that it will be like the first home game, where the crowd really got into it. We know that there's a lot on the line, so we'll be practicing accordingly.

"This has been an interesting season so far. This time last year, I was in college just hoping for a chance to play in the NFL. Now I'm here, and it's strange to realize all that has happened.

"The biggest change is the mental transition from football as part of school where you have other things like classes to be thinking about to football as a job where it requires 100% of your attention. As a college player, you dream of a situation like this, and when it becomes a reality, you almost can't believe it. Every day is fun, even going to the meetings. But that doesn't mean football at this level doesn't require a lot of work. We put in long days.

"I started playing football in third grade. It was something I always wanted to do and seemed to be good at. I'm glad that I followed this path. To be here is really exciting.

"As a rookie, the first time in the locker room or on the field, you find yourself looking around and thinking, 'Hey, it's Brian Urlacher, NFL Defensive Player of the Year, and he just said hello to me.' But pretty soon it all seems normal. You realize that although these players are household names, they are just guys like everybody else.

"What I've found is that the veterans have been very patient when I've asked for advice on technique or had some other kind of a question. This is a close football team. Everybody looks out for everybody else. I think that is part of the reason for their success.

"This upcoming week, I am going to be concentrating on my technique as usual. I felt that I was able to make some good plays last week, and I'd like to continue that. My speed needs improvement. I also need to work on my reaction time. The common rookie mistake is to spend too much time thinking about a play instead of just going out and doing it.

"Seattle has some very accomplished offensive linemen, so there will be no margin for error. I think it is going to be an intense game because a lot is on the line. That means we'll all be out there working hard and doing our best. It should be fun."

The Rookie Diary appears every Wednesday exclusively at If not Jamar Williams, then Mark Anderson. If not Mark Anderson, then we'll find somebody.

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